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Legislation improves safety on Tennessee lakes and rivers

The General Assembly unanimously approved legislation this week to keep boaters and workers safe on Tennessee waterways.

House Bill 2103, sponsored by State Rep. Dan Howell, R-Cleveland, authorizes the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) to establish a special, temporary no-wake zone as necessary due to an immediate danger to the public or environment.

This legislation comes after heavy snowfall in January caused a deck to collapse at the Fort Loudon Marina in Lenoir City. While salvage teams were attempting to clean up the debris, the wake from passing boats caused a safety hazard for workers.

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The current law states that the TWRA can issue temporary no-wake zones, but there must be several days of public notice beforehand.

The legislation does not remove the requirement to subsequently file an emergency rule under the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act. It also requires the no wake zone to be published at least once in newspapers that circulate in the general area where the zone is placed. House Bill 2103 will now head to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk to be signed into law. It will take effect July 1.

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